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 seeks redress on any school-related issue (such as the Buckbeak attack on Draco Malfoy, in September 1993).[3] They also had the authority to shut down the school entirely if they felt it was necessary.[4]


Lucius Malfoy was once the chairman of the school governors,[2] but was thrown off the Board in mid-1993 for threatening to curse the other eleven governors' families if they did not suspend Albus Dumbledore from the position of Headmaster of Hogwarts.[5]

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.[6] It seems the Educational Decrees, passed by the Ministry, gave them the authority to override the authority of teachers,[7] the headmaster and possibly the school governors.

"This office is supposed to be barred to all but the rightful headmaster."
Phineas Nigellus[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.[6] Perhaps this was because she was not appointed by the governors.

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.[4] Any such consultation, however, was likely rendered irrelevant when the Ministry was overthrown by Voldemort's Death Eaters and again assumed direct control of the school.[8]

Exactly how Voldemort took over the school to appoint Severus Snape headmaster is currently 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. When he essentially abandoned his post during the Battle of Hogwarts his portrait was not automatically placed there, suggesting he lost legitimacy as headmaster.

Known members


Notes and references

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 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. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 14 (Snape's Grudge)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Chapter 29 (The Phoenix Lament)
  5. 5.0 5.1 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 18 (Dobby's Reward)
  6. 6.0 6.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 28 (Snape's Worst Memory)
  7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 17 (Educational Decree Number Twenty-Four)
  8. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 11 (The Bribe)
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