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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."
—Mad-Eye 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. As the name suggests, it dealt with the improper use of magic, by both Hogwarts students and fully qualified wizards.

Functions

The office was responsible for enforcing and regulating the violations of the International Confederation of Wizards' Statute of Secrecy, arguably the most prominent international wizarding law of them all, which prohibited wizards and witches from performing magic in the presence of Muggles or in a Muggle-inhabited area, and of the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, which restricted underage wizards from performing magic outside school.

Upon receiving intelligence of a transgression, a note would be sent to the offender detailing actions that would be taken by the office.[1][2] 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,[2] or the offender could be referred to the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement[3] for an official disciplinary hearing to reach an official decision as to imprisonment and destruction of the accused's wand — 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.

History

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

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.

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.

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 a houseguest of his Aunt and Uncle. It was assumed that Harry levitated the pudding, but Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge let him go 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.

This pity turned to malice when, two years later, Harry received notice of expulsion from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry 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.

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.

Known employees

Behind the scenes

Appearances

Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 2 (Dobby's Warning)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 2 (A Peck of Owls)
  3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 7 (The Ministry of Magic)
  4. 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
  5. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Chapter 11 (Ministry Interior)
  6. Harry Potter Limited Edition (see this image)


Department of Magical Law Enforcement
Level 2, Ministry of Magic
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