At least some content in this article is derived from information featured in Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. Spoilers will be present within the article.
- "Level two, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters, and Wizengamot Administration Services."
- — Description of the department[src]
The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was the largest department at the Ministry of Magic, and roughly the equivalent to the Home Office of Muggle Britain. It can be argued that this department is the most important within the Ministry.
Level Two of the Ministry of Magic housed the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Once the personnel and/or guests stepped out of the lift, they found themselves in a corridor lined with doors on both sides, around the corner of which there were a set of heavy oak doors leading into the Auror Headquarters: a large open area divided into small cubicles, one for each Auror.
A second set of double doors and another passage led to a dimly lit and distinctly shabby corridor. A broom cupboard sat at the left end of the corridors, and the right side had the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office: a room of almost the same size as the cupboard, with two desks and overflowing filing cabinets crammed inside.
The Department of Magical Law Enforcement was the biggest and arguably the most important of the various departments in the Ministry of Magic, functioning as a combination of police and justice facilities. As such, it had many different subdivisions through which it worked to uphold wizarding laws.
Being the department that upholds the laws of Britain's wizarding community, all other departments, aside from the secretive Department of Mysteries, were answerable to it. Because of this, the influence and authority carried by the Head of this department could be very high.
Former Head Bartemius Crouch Senior utilised his powers to permit the usage of the Unforgivable Curses against the enemies, among other law changes that seem atrocious under times of peace. Crouch Senior was so incredibly popular that he was slated to become the next Minister for Magic.
Former head Pius Thicknesse had a large network of connections with the heads of the other Departments, which the Death Eaters took advantage of when they worked to subjugate him, thus enabling them to easily spread their Imperius Curses into the majority of the bureaucracy.
The department was also responsible for the safety and welfare of the wizarding population of Great Britain. They distributed leaflets such as, Protecting Your Home and Family Against Dark Forces. The pamphlets were purple with golden letters and had at least ten pages. It contained simple security guidelines that would protect a wizard under threat of Death Eater attack or impersonation.
The Department of Magical Law Enforcement also had the authority to issue formal warnings, hand out fines, seize private property, make investigative inquiries, confiscate contraband and other illegal items, detain suspects, carry out arrests and use other appropriate means of policing wizarding Britain.
Employees of The Department of Magical Law Enforcement were sometimes referred to as officers. These officers were law-keepers in the wizarding world. Their job was to stop crime and catch criminals guilty of an offense that fell within the scope of the type of legislation that they were employed to uphold. These officers operated within certain jurisdictions. It is possible that members of the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol were also refereed as officers, as they comprised of a team of wizards and witches tasked with general law enforcement.
It is unknown if Aurors were addressed by the term "officer". It is possible that they were not addressed as such, because of their higher-rank. Aurors were not ordinary law enforcement employees, but specialised dark wizard catchers. It is unknown if the employees of any other division within Magical Law Enforcement were refereed to as officers.
Employees within this department were sometimes issued a Ministry of Magic Identity Card. This ID card was small and used to authenticate the identity of the various employees at the British Ministry of Magic. Use of the cards was made compulsory by Minister Pius Thicknesse in 1997. Mafalda Hopkirk of the Improper Use of Magic Office carried an Identity Card on her person. Head Auror Harry Potter had an ID card complete with his job description, a picture of his wand, and several other official stamps were littered throughout the document.
A DMLE Badge was an accessory given to employees of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, presented or displayed to indicate that the witch or wizard in question were acting under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Magic in London. The badge also indicated a witch of wizards authority to maintain law and order in the wizarding community of Great Britain. Cerberus Langarm was known to wear his badge pinned to his chest while on duty. However, Head Auror Potter kept his badge in his office.
Justus Pilliwickle worked for the Ministry of Magic in the 19th century. He was a celebrated Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. His work in the department earned him is own Chocolate Frog Card.
First Wizarding War
- "Well, times like that bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. Crouch's principles might've been good in the beginning — I wouldn't know. He rose quickly through the Ministry, and he started ordering very harsh measures against Voldemorts supporters. The Aurors were given new powers — powers to kill rather than capture, for instance. And I wasn't the only one who was handed straight to the dementors without trial. Crouch fought violence with violence, and authorized the use of the Unforgivable Curses against suspects. I would say he became as ruthless and cruel as many on the Dark Side."
- — Department Head Barty Crouch Snr's methods during the First Wizarding War[src]
In the 1970s, Barty Crouch Snr was a Head of the department, famous for aggressively prosecuting Dark Wizards in the days of Voldemort's rise to power. He fought "violence with violence" and was ruthless with his methods. His fervour led him to authorise methods almost as bad as those of the Death Eaters they were hunting. He allowed the Aurors to use the Unforgivable Curses, and imprisoned people like Sirius Black in Azkaban without a trial. He also gave Aurors the power to kill whether then capture.
Crouch was much admired at the time, "penty of people thought he was going about things the right way, and there were a lot of witches and wizards clamoring for him to take over as Minister of Magic". However, he fell from grace around 1982 after he sentenced his own son to Azkaban for being a Death Eater. After losing out the position as Minister for Magic to Cornelius Fudge, Barty was demoted to being the Head of the Department of International Magical Co-operation. He was later murdered by his son in 1995.
The 1980s trial in which Crouch sentenced his son to Azkaban was notorious. It was governed by the Council of Magical Law. Four culprits were brought before the council: Bartemius Crouch Jnr, Bellatrix Lestrange, Rabastan Lestrange, and Rodolphus Lestrange. The offence was described as so heinous that such a crime was rarely heard of in court. It was for the capture and torture of Aurors Frank and Alice Longbottom.
The Longbottoms were heavily tortured by all four Death Eaters by the means of the Cruciatus Curse, eventually their minds snapping from the strain, and they became permanently insane. During the court proceedings the crowd roared in savage pleasure when Crouch Snr proposed that they send the Death Eaters to Azkaban for life, and the sentence was passed without question.
Between the Wars
- "The hearing’s on my floor, in Amelia Bones’s office. She’s Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and she’s the one who’ll be questioning you."
- — Arthur Weasley stating that Amelia Bones is the Department Head[src]
Amelia Bones was the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in 1995 and presided over the Wizengamot. Amelia was described as being a fair individual. However, despite her fair nature, the department did hold bias within it. This was due to Minister Fudge's vendetta against Harry Potter.
On 12 August 1995, a full criminal trial was held during Harry's disciplinary hearing, even though his infraction was a simple case of underage magic. It turned out to be nothing but a show trial and merely a way for Fudge to further his cruel agenda, though the intervention of Dumbledore prevented his plan. About a year later, Amelia was murdered “nastily” by Death Eaters; it was speculated that she was murdered by Voldemort himself.
Second Wizarding War
After the Fall of the Ministry of Magic in 1997, Pius Thicknesse became the Minister for Magic. He was under the Imperius Curse and was acting as a puppet for Voldemort, in order to do the Dark Lord's bidding.
Under his reign many atrocities were committed, such as the formation of the Muggle-Born Registration Commission and the sentencing of numerous Muggle-borns to Azkaban. Dolores Umbridge was in charge of the Commission and often held trails in the Ministry courtrooms. These trails were shames, used as a way to intimidate Muggle-borns and to assert the Ministry's new policies. Several Ministry employees were sentenced to Azkaban after the war for crimes against Muggle-borns.
After the War
- Hermione Granger: "These are people and beasts that fought alongside Voldemort in the great wizarding wars. These are allies of darkness. This — combined with what we have just unearthed at Theodore Nott's — could mean something. But if the Head of Magical Law Enforcement isn't reading his files —"
- Harry Potter: "But I don't need to read it — I'm out there, hearing about it. Theodore Nott — it was me who heard the rumors about the Time-Turner and me who acted upon it."
- — Harry and Hermione discussing the state of wizarding Britian[src]
After the Second Wizarding War, the corruption within the department and the rest of the Ministry was weeded out and it became an enjoyable place to work. Hermione Granger became a deputy Head in this department and helped rid the wizarding community of the pro-pure-blood laws that were in effect. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley joined the Auror Office at the age of 17 and helped reshuffle it. Harry became Head Auror at the age of 26, and by the summer of 2020 Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.
After hearing a rumour about an illegal and very powerful Time-Turner, Harry and his team of Aurors raided the Nott residence and confiscated it. Harry defeated Nott in a duel and then arrested him. He was arrested for the illegal possession of an unregistered and advanced Time-Turner. Harry turned the prototype Time-Turner over to Hermione (the Minister for Magic) for safekeeping. While in his paper laden workoffice, he and Hermione spoke about recent activity among Voldemort's former allies and how action must be taken. They discuess the "mountain trolls riding Graphorns through Hungary, giants with winged tattoos on their backs walking through the Greek Seas, and the werewolves that have gone entirely underground".
Harry was made the leader of the members of the Statute of Secrecy Task Force. This task force was an emergency response team established by the International Confederation of Wizards with the help of the British Ministry of Magic to deal with a series of large-scale breaches of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy known as the Calamity.
An Auror was a highly trained specialist officer who investigated crimes involving the Dark Arts and apprehended Dark Wizards. According to Minerva McGonagall, the Auror Office took in new recruits with a minimum of five N.E.W.T.s (with marks no lower than 'Exceeds Expectations'). She suggested that Potions, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Transfiguration, Charms, and Herbology were the most appropriate for someone who aspired to be admitted to the training programme. A potential recruit also had to pass "...a series of character and aptitude tests."
Nymphadora Tonks mentioned that two of the programme's courses of study were "Concealment and Disguise" and "Stealth and Tracking", and that the training was hard to pass with high marks (a requirement). Aurors were the magical equivalents of Muggle counter-terrorism operatives and, during the First Wizarding War, Aurors were authorised to use the Unforgivable Curses on suspected Death Eaters; specifically, they were given the licence to kill, coerce or torture them.
Many of the Dark wizards would first duel with the Aurors sent to arrest them before surrendering, or even fight to the death. Aurors were also used to protect high-profile targets such as Harry, Hogwarts, and the Muggle Prime Minister.
Improper Use of Magic Office
This office punished violations of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy. This included underage witches and wizards intentionally using magic, which suggests that this office may have been in charge of the Trace. This permitted them to monitor the magic used by those under the age of seventeen.
When an underage witch or wizard did magic in a Muggle household, the Ministry was immediately notified of the situation. However, if an underage witch or wizard did magic within a magical home, the department was not notified.
Furthermore, the Improper Use of Magic Office is not able to differentiate exactly who was using magic and who was not. In 1992 a house-elf named Dobby used a Hover Charm within 4 Privet Drive and Harry Potter was wrongly accused.
Wizengamot Administration Services
This office undertook administrative and clerical duties for the Wizengamot. Its function appeared to be analogous to Muggle court registries. Its functions appeared to be analogous to Muggle court registries; this would typically include maintenance of court documents, hearing dates, judges' schedules, and the administration of legal proceedings.
In addition to being like Muggle court registries, they also functioned as secretaries to the members of the Wizengamot.
As a secretary of the Wizengamot, they are most likely a administrative professional, or personal assistant whose work consisted of supporting the Wizengamot members. This most likely included project management, communication, and organisational skills.
Administrative Registration Department
The Administrative Registration Department was responsible for the registration of the wizarding population. After the Fall of the Ministry of Magic, the Muggle-Born Registration Commission was created under this department. It was also possible the Animagus Registry was found within this department.
It was possible that if a witch or wizard had a child, they had to register the baby as a member of the magical community of Great Britain through this department. The Improper Use of Magic Office and Administrative Registration Department most likely work together to keep track of underage witches and wizards who resided in Muggle settings.
Department of Intoxicating Substances
The Department of Intoxicating Substances was a sub-division of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and was responsible for making regulations on the consumption of alcoholic beverages. This included no alcohol being sold to underage witches and wizards.
The department appeared to have been rather strict when it came to underage alcohol sales, putting up notices that warned against it. It is unknown what the punishment was for serving alcohol to underage wizards.
Hit Wizards comprised of a team of highly trained wizards tasked with arresting dangerous criminals. As such they were the Wizarding Britain's equivalent of specialist firearms officers or possibly the equivalent of a Muggle S.W.A.T. Team.
The entry requirements included five O.W.L.s, one of which had to be Defence Against the Dark Arts. Members had a personal bed reserved at St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.
In 1993, Cornelius Fudge suggested that only Hit Wizards should attempt to capture Sirius Black, an Azkaban escapee then believed to be a highly dangerous criminal. This indicated that Hit Wizards were trained in defensive and offensive magic.
It is possible that this department was utilised when Sirius Black was on the run from the authorities. This department most likely investigated the Death Eaters that escaped Azkaban: Bellatrix Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, and Rabastan Lestrange. Furthmore, this department might have also investigated other Death Eater activity as well.
Magical Law Enforcement Patrol
The Magical Law Enforcement Patrol (formerly the Magical Law Enforcement Squad) was tasked with general law enforcement, like with the Muggle police. Trained Hit Wizards were a part of the Squad and were dispatched to deal with high-profile arrests.
They also handled security at Quidditch events, such as the Holyhead Harpies versus Puddlemere United match. They were most likely stationed at matches in order to deter riots and violent outbursts.
In the 1920s it was headed by Bob Ogden, who led a team to Little Hangleton to arrest Marvolo and Morfin Gaunt for crimes against both Muggles and the Ministry, since the House of Gaunt had avoided previous attempts at arrest.
Ministry of Magic Witch Watchers
Ministry of Magic Witch Watchers were a special Ministry force that was presumably stationed at strategic places in search of fugitive criminals.
This branch of the department was in charge of the 1993 manhunt for Sirius Black. Minister Cornelius Fudge ordered hundreds of Witch Watchers to the village where Sirius was sighted in order to apprehend him.
Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office
This office regulated the use of magic on Muggle objects and confiscated those which had been illegally bewitched. One of the laws they enforced is the prohibition of magically altering a Muggle vehicle with the intent to fly it. It was headed by Arthur Weasley until his promotion in 1996.
It is implied that this office did not get sufficient funding, as there was only a few employees within the relatively small department.
It also did not get a lot of respect from fellow Ministry workers. It was also stated that this office had a bad reputation and was not respected by the rest of the Ministry. The Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office was also considered boring.
Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects
This office was created in 1996 by Minister for Magic Rufus Scrimgeour, in response to the growing threat of Lord Voldemort and the rise of dangerous or dubious spells and products which claimed to provide protection against the Dark Arts. Arthur Weasley was promoted to head this operation. It was stated that he had ten employees working for him.
Its duties involved preventing the trade of fake and/or useless spells, potions and artefacts that appeared during the Second Wizarding War. It is unknown if this department was still in use after the war.
|Heads of department||Justus Pilliwickle||Former department head; one of the most notable on the post.|
|Torquil Travers||Former department head, served during the 1920s.|
|Barty Crouch Snr||Former department head, demoted to head of the Department of International Magical Co-operation after his son's exposure as a Death Eater in 1981.|
|Amelia Bones||Former department head, murdered by Lord Voldemort in the summer of 1996.|
|Pius Thicknesse||Former department head, subjugated by Corban Yaxley and promoted to Minister for Magic.|
|Corban Yaxley||Former department head, during the Death Eaters' control of the Ministry of Magic.|
|Harry Potter||Harry was head of the department from at least 2019.|
|Aurors||Rufus Scrimgeour||Former Head of the Auror Office; promoted to Minister for Magic in 1996.|
|Frank Longbottom||Former Aurors; permanently incapacitated by means of the Cruciatus Curse in 1981 or 1982.|
|Alastor Moody||Retired by 1994 and murdered by Voldemort in 1997|
|Gawain Robards||Became head of the Auror Office following Scrimgeour's promotion in 1996.|
|Kingsley Shacklebolt||Promoted to Minister for Magic following Voldemort's defeat in 1998.|
|Nymphadora Tonks||Murdered during the Battle of Hogwarts when she was defeated by Bellatrix Lestrange in 1998.|
|Harry Potter||Former head of the Auror Office and later Head of Magical Law Enforcement by 2019.|
|Ron Weasley||Resigned from the Auror Office and began working with his brother George Weasley at Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes in Diagon Alley in 2000.|
|Other personnel||Bob Ogden||Head of the Magical Law Enforcement Squad in the 1920s.|
|Leta Lestrange||Assistant to the Head of the Department in at least 1927.|
|Dolores Umbridge||Head of the Improper Use of Magic Office sometime before 1995; Imprisoned in Azkaban for life for her crimes against humanity after Voldemort's defeat in 1998.|
|Elphinstone Urquart||Senior officer of the department in the 1950s; late husband of Minerva McGonagall.|
|Minerva McGonagall||After which she became Transfiguration professor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.|
|Mafalda Hopkirk||Worked in the Improper Use of Magic Office in the 1990s; responsible for sending letters to underage wizards who used magic outside of Hogwarts.|
|Perkins||Worker in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office.|
|Arthur Weasley||Head of the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office under Cornelius Fudge; Head of the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects under Rufus Scrimgeour.|
|Hermione Granger||After working with the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, she eventually took a senior position in this department, reaching the level of Deputy Head of the Department by 2014. Hermione went on to be Minister for Magic by 2019.|
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (video game) (Mentioned on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game) (Mentioned on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Indirectly mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (video game) (Mentioned on a Famous Wizard Card)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (First mentioned)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Mentioned only)
- Daily Prophet Newsletters (Mentioned only)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
- Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
- Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery (First appearance)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- Writing by J. K. Rowling: "Ministers for Magic" at Wizarding World
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 27 (Padfoot Returns)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 7 (The Ministry of Magic)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 1 (The Dark Lord Ascending)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 13 (The Muggle-Born Registration Commission)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 4 (Horace Slughorn)
- Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World (see this image)
- Harry Potter Limited Edition (see this image)
- Harry Potter: Wizards Unite "Brilliant Event: Potter's Calamity"
- Fantastic Beasts: Cases from the Wizarding World
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 27 (Padfoot Returns)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 8 (The Hearing)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 1 (The Other Minister)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act Four, Scene Four
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Act One, Scene Five - "Go home to your family, Harry, the Hogwarts Express is about to depart for another year"
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 11 (Aboard the Hogwarts Express)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 29 (Careers Advice)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 3 (The Advance Guard)
- Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 7, Chapter 6 (A Window of Opportunity)
- Daily Prophet Newsletters
- Daily Prophet Newsletters - Issue 4
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (film) - Chapter 11 (Boggart in the Wardrobe)
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets