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Lucius Malfoy: "So! You've come back. The governors suspended you, but you still saw fit to return to Hogwarts."
Albus Dumbledore: "Well, you see, Lucius, the other eleven governors contacted me today. It was something like being caught in a hailstorm of owls, to tell the truth. They'd heard that Arthur Weasley's daughter had been killed and wanted me back here at once. They seemed to think I was the best man for the job after all. Very strange tales they told me, too.... Several of them seemed to think that you had threatened to curse their families if they didn't agree to suspend me in the first place."
— A discussion regarding the Board of Governors[src]

The Hogwarts Board of Governors was a group of twelve wizards who oversaw the running of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The appointment and suspension of a Headmaster was up to the governors.[1] The Board was obliged to take action if any parent sought redress on any school-related issue.[3] They also had authority over the staff[4] and could inspect the school to see how it functioned on a daily basis,[4] and even shut down the school entirely if they felt it was necessary.[5]


"Lucius Malfoy can be... difficult, sometimes. But he is a school governor, we simply must cooperate."
— Filius Flitwick about the governors[src]

Credited by then Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, as the overseers of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the twelve Hogwarts Governors were a very important people and held considerable influence over the school. They ranked above the faculty at Hogwarts, who were required to accommodate the Governors when they visited in an official capacity.[6] Though apparently infrequent, the Governors had free access to the grounds.[1] They had the power to conduct inspections at the school, during which they would ask teachers and students questions about school life and related matters to determine the quality of the students' education.[6]


The Board of Governors was established at some point after the school's inception in the 11th century by the four founders of Hogwarts.

By the 1985–1986 school year, Lucius Malfoy had joined the board, and conducted a surprise inspection of the school.[4] During the 1992–1993 school year; Malfoy, now chairman of the school governors,[2] was thrown off the Board for threatening to curse the other eleven governors' families if they did not suspend Albus Dumbledore from the position of Headmaster of Hogwarts because of the opening of the Chamber of Secrets (a plot he himself had orchestrated).[7]

The following school year, Malfoy issued a complaint with the Board following an attack on his son Draco by Buckbeak the Hippogriff in a Care of Magical Creatures class, with the Governors deciding to refer to the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures for a final decision on the matter.[3]

Albus Dumbledore: "....but as the Ministry has no authority to punish Hogwarts students for misdemeanours at school...."
Cornelius Fudge: "Laws can be changed."
— Albus Dumbledore and Cornelius Fudge[src]

The role of the Board of Governors was unknown during the Ministry of Magic's interference in the operation of Hogwarts during the 1995–1996 school year, most particularly in regard to the temporary installation of Dolores Umbridge as Headmistress.[8] It seems the Educational Decrees, passed by the Ministry, gave them the authority to override the authority of teachers,[9] the headmaster and possibly the school governors.

"This office is supposed to be barred to all but the rightful headmaster."
Phineas Nigellus Black[src]

In 1996, the Headmaster's office did not accept Dolores Umbridge as Headmistress of Hogwarts despite the passage of Educational Decree Number Twenty-Eight by Cornelius Fudge.[8]

At the ending of the 1996–1997 school year, following the death of Albus Dumbledore, the professors of Hogwarts agreed that they would need to consult the governors as to whether or not Hogwarts would be allowed to reopen the following year.[5] Any such consultation, however, was likely rendered irrelevant when the Ministry was overthrown by Voldemort's Death Eaters over the summer and again assumed direct control of the school.[10]

Exactly how Voldemort took over the school to appoint Severus Snape as headmaster is unknown. He could have coerced the governors as Lucius Malfoy had done to suspend Albus Dumbledore; he could have replaced the governors with Death Eaters; or the Ministry could have appointed him by Educational Decree. In any case, the Headmaster's office accepted him as legitimate, allowing him access and providing him advice.

Known members

Behind the scenes

  • Interestingly, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, when it is mentioned Hogwarts was facing the possibility of closure in 1943, there is no mention of the Board of Governors, with Headmaster Armando Dippet saying that the final decision rested with the Ministry of Magic. This could suggest that the Board of Governors is a Ministry structure, that the Board simply did not exist yet at that time, or that the Ministry could in some cases overrule the Board's decision and close the school regardless.


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 14 (Cornelius Fudge)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (video game)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 14 (Snape's Grudge)
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2, Side Quest "Meet the Malfoys"
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery, Year 2, Side Quest "Meet the Malfoys"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
  9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
  10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)