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"All Student Organisations, Societies, Teams, Groups, and Clubs are henceforth disbanded. An Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students. Permission to re-form may be sought from the High Inquisitor (Professor Umbridge). No Student Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club may exist without the knowledge and approval of the High Inquisitor. Any student found to have formed, or to belong to, an Organisation, Society, Team, Group, or Club that has not been approved by the High Inquisitor will be expelled."
— The Decree[src]

The Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four was the first Educational Decree created by Dolores Umbridge, Hogwarts High Inquisitor. It was passed to prevent the formation of Dumbledore's Army, other organisations, clubs, team or societies.[1]



Shortly after their first Defence Against the Dark Arts lesson with Dolores Umbridge, it soon became clear to Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger that practical defensive magic would not be taught in the class. Instead, a Ministry-approved course of theory would be taught. Minister Cornelius Fudge was afraid that Albus Dumbledore would use these lessons to train an army of wizards and witches to oppose him and try to take over the Ministry since he refused to believe that Lord Voldemort had returned. Concerned that they needed defensive magical skills to combat Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters, Hermione proposed the formation of a practical study group to be taught by Harry, as she had double-checked the rules that such groups were not violations of any kind. The association became known as Dumbledore's Army and its first meeting took place at the Hog's Head pub in Hogsmeade.[2] Without anyone noticing, the meeting was overheard by Willy Widdershins, who informed Umbridge of the meeting in a plea-bargain to avoid punishment for a series of Regurgitating toilet incidents.[3]


After hearing about the defensive magic organisation, Dolores Umbridge used her power as Hogwarts High Inquisitor to pass this Educational Decree on 7 October 1995, which forbade the regular meeting of three or more students without the High Inquisitor's consent. Any student found to be in noncompliance of the Decree was to be expelled immediately.[1]


This Educational Decree disbanded all of the student organisations, like the Gobstones club and Quidditch teams. As such, there was initially some disapprovement from the student body, but as Umbridge eventually reformed said organisations, the main student body was not very affected by it. However, the members of Dumbledore's Army became upset and speculated that someone had told Umbridge about the meeting.[1] Regardless, they formed the group and secretly trained themselves in Defence. Eventually, Marietta Edgecombe betrayed the group, and Umbridge attempted to use this decree to expel all the members of the Army, which failed as Dumbledore took the blame for its formation, and said that the first meeting at Hog's Head was not in violation as the decree was yet to be formed, while the night they were caught was supposed to be the first meeting, as opposed to them happening for six months.[3]


The decree was eventually abolished when Dolores Umbridge was suspended from her post as High Inquisitor and Albus Dumbledore returned to his post as Headmaster following the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, in the summer of 1996.[4]


During Severus Snape's tenure as Headmaster of Hogwarts, and Alecto and Amycus Carrow's as Deputy Heads during the 1997–1998 school year, this Decree was reinstated to prevent the reformation of Dumbledore's Army and oppress the rest of the student body.[5] However, it did not stop the organisation from returning nevertheless. After the Battle of Hogwarts and Lord Voldemort's reign ended, on 2 May, 1998 the Decree was presumably abolished again.

Behind the scenes

  • Technically, the students should have been expelled for joining Dumbledore's Army even when Dumbledore himself took the blame and claimed that it was only the first meeting, as it is still a meeting regardless of how long or short it went. Fudge may have spared the students because the decree stated "student organisations", in which this one would not count as it was supposedly formed by a teacher, or that the students were supposedly not aware it was a meeting at the time of invitation, or Fudge was outright too excited to care about the details about students. Regardless, in the film adaption, Umbridge punished the members by forcing them to write lines for violating the decree, as Umbridge was well aware that there are indeed meetings that happened for extended periods of time, due to having kept a close watch on the Army, and instead she believed that Dumbledore led this army from the start, using Harry as an intermediate figurehead.
  • If Dumbledore had actually started and led the group, it could have been in violation of Educational Decree Number Twenty-Six after its enactment: while he was headmaster, Dumbledore was not also a teacher of Defence Against the Dark Arts, or of any other subject; he was being paid to manage the school, not to teach a subject.
  • Technically, since Harry, Hermione, and Ron regularly met, they were in violation of the decree, which should have led to their expulsion since it was widely known.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 16 (In The Hog's Head)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 27 (The Centaur and the Sneak)
  4. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 38 (The Second War Begins)
  5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 29 (The Lost Diadem)