Not barred – just ineligible

I write in response to the report carried in The Lawyer (5 November) under the byline of Backstabber.

While the report correctly states that the media was not permitted to attend the general meeting of the International Bar Association, which last month elected Dianna Kempe QC as secretary-general, in claiming that a "strict press exclusion zone" was imposed, your magazine is providing its readers with a wholly biased report of events.

In line with the IBA Constitution, the general meeting may be attended by those eligible to vote, namely organisational members and senior representatives of the three sections, as well as members of the IBA Council, deputy secretaries general, assistant treasurers and honorary life members.

Individual members of the IBA and other parties – including non-members and the media – are not eligible to attend, although members are informed of proceedings.

Far from your reporter's claim that IBA officials at the 26th Biennial Conference in Berlin were "worried that some of the blood would spill out under the door", the full breakdown of the vote for secretary-general was announced at the meeting in order to enable each of the section officers and deputy secretaries general to inform the membership.

Your publication and a number of other organisations were informed of the overall number of votes cast, and of the fact that Mrs Kempe had received a majority greater than the 60 per cent required to win the election in the first round.

Ross Harper

Immediate past president

International Bar Association