This is an unofficial snapshot of the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC22 WG21 Core Issues List revision 110b. See for the official list.


600. Does access control apply to members or to names?

Section: 11.8  [class.access]     Status: CD6     Submitter: Alisdair Meredith     Date: 3 October 2006

[Accepted at the November, 2020 meeting as part of paper P1787R6 and moved to DR at the February, 2021 meeting.]

Referring to a private member of a class, 11.8 [class.access] paragraph 1 says,

its name can be used only by members and friends of the class in which it is declared.

That wording does not appear to reflect the intent of access control, however. Consider the following:

    struct S {
        void f(int);
        void f(double);

    void g(S* sp) {
        sp->f(2);        // Ill-formed?

The statement from 11.8 [class.access] paragraph 1 says that the name f can be used only by members and friends of S. Function g is neither, and it clearly contains a use of the name f. That appears to make it ill-formed, in spite of the fact that overload resolution will select the public member.

A related question is whether the use of the term “name” in the description of the effect of access control means that it does not apply to constructors and destructors, which do not have names.

Mike Miller: The phrase “its name can be used” should be understood as “it can be referred to by name.” Paragraph 4, among other places, makes it clear that access control is applied after overload resolution. The “name” phrasing is there to indicate that access control does not apply where the name is not used (in a call via a pointer, for example).