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"But if the Improper Use of Magic lot get their hands on Mad-Eye, he's had it — think of his record."
Alastor Moody's track record[src]

The Improper Use of Magic Office was a division of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic. It dealt with the misuse of magic, particularly in cases where Muggles was involved, be it by Hogwarts students, or by fully qualified wizards.


This division was charged with investigating incidents of magical activity that breached the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy, such as deliberate use of magic in front of Muggles, or in Muggle-inhabited areas, or failure to conform to the strictures laid down to uphold said law. To this end, it was also tasked with enforcing the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery. It also maintained a list of people with the ability to turn into an animal at will in order to prevent any misuse of their talent, with there being heavy penalties for those who failed to register. Likewise, it can be assumed that unauthorised portkeys, unlicensed Apparition and other criminal activities posing a risk to wizarding secrecy also fell under their purview for the same reason.

Upon receiving intelligence of a transgression, a note would be sent to the offender detailing actions that would be taken by the office.[3][4] In cases where infringement was severe, the office could dispatch Ministry representatives to take legal affair, and in the absolutely worst cases, they were allowed to immediately destroy the accused's wand,[4] or the offender could be referred to the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement[5] for an official disciplinary hearing to reach an official decision as to imprisonment and destruction of the accused's wand was warranted — and although high-profile cases are known to have taken place before the whole Wizengamot, this was highly unusual. A notable example on their daily work was how the Office was tasked with taking action against the activist Carlotta Pinkstone, who deliberately used magic indiscriminately in public places, in full sight of Muggles, and as a result, she was subject of a long series of convictions and imprisonments in the wizarding prison of Azkaban. While focusing on breaches of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, it kept a particular focus on witches or wizards living in areas that were inhabited by Muggles. In these cases, first-time offenders were usually let off with a warning, while extreme cases could require them to take legal action against the person in question.


The inventor of the Mending Charm, Orabella Nuttley, worked by day in the Improper Use of Magic Office during the 18th century.[6]

Dolores Umbridge started her career as a lowly intern in this office right after leaving Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry at 17 years old, and due to her tyrannical methodologies underneath her sweet attitude, along with taking credit for other people's work, she became Head of the division before 30 years old. She eventually left the department when she was promoted to Senior Undersecretary to the Minister for Magic.[1]

During the 1990–1991 school year, seventh-year Hogwarts students Charlie Weasley and Liz Tuttle were assigned to this office during their participation in the Ministry of Magic student programme.

Rufus Fudge joined this office in February 1999, but was suspended when he caused a scandal by making a Muggle tube train vanish as a bet on a Friday evening.[7]

The Improper Use of Magic Office came into contact with Harry Potter repeatedly during his childhood. He received a warning letter from them when Dobby, a house-elf, used a Hover Charm to smash a pudding on the floor at 4 Privet Drive when Muggles were present in the house.[3] It was assumed that Harry levitated the pudding, which constituted a breach of both the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery and, even more importantly, the International Confederation of Wizards' Statute of Secrecy. Given his youth, however, then Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge let him off with a warning. One year later, Harry caused his Aunt Marge to float like a balloon, but Fudge let him go because he felt pity for Harry, believing Sirius Black to be on the hunt for him.[8]

This pity turned to malice when, two years later, Harry received notice of expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Improper Use of Magic Office after he used a Patronus Charm against threatening Dementors in his Muggle hometown of Little Whinging. The letter informed him that his wand would be destroyed by Ministry officials and he would be detained until Court notice; this appeared to be the standard procedure. Through the intervention of Albus Dumbledore, punishment and wand destruction was delayed until a hearing could be held for Harry.[4]

Harry was indeed tried before the entire Wizengamot, however, it was highly unusual procedure for a simple case of underage use of magic. The hearing was held in Courtroom Ten below the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic.[9]

At some point during the late 2010s, the Improper Use of Magic Office became inundated with a steadily growing number of reports regarding sightings of unauthorised and seemingly chaotic magical activity occurring throughout the Muggle world.[10] And although the appropriate authorities were notified and dispatched to deal with the matter, it did not take long before it became blatantly obvious that these "traces of magic" were occurring ever more frequently, until the Ministry of Magic decided to take the unprecedented step of partnering with the International Confederation of Wizards to form an international task force to investigate and contain this so-called Calamity. In the time that followed, the Ministry proceeded to encourage unity in light of this new threat, and asked witches and wizards to enlist to the Statute of Secrecy Task Force.

Known employees

Behind the scenes


Notes and references

Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Level 2, Ministry of Magic
Department of Magical Law Enforcement logo.png
Auror Office · Department of Intoxicating Substances · Improper Use of Magic Office · Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office · Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects · Magical Law Enforcement Patrol · Hit Wizards · Ministry of Magic Witch Watchers · Department of Magical Equipment Control · Administrative Registration Department · Wizengamot Administration Services · Department of Security · Animagus Registry · Misuse of Magic Office