- "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 is a division of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at the Ministry of Magic. As the name suggests it deals with the improper use of magic, by both Hogwarts students and fully qualified wizards.
The office is 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 prohibits 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, that restricts underage wizards from performing magic outside school.
Upon receiving intelligence of a transgression, a note is sent to the offender detailing actions that will be taken by the office. In those cases where infringement is severe, the office may dispatch Ministry representatives to take legal affair, and in the absolutely worst cases, they may have to immediately destroy the accused's wand, or the offender may be referred to the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement 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 is 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 keeps a particular focus on witches or wizards living in an area inhabited by Muggles. In these cases, first-time offenders are usually let off with a warning while extreme cases may require them to take legal action against the person in question.
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.
Contact with Harry Potter
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 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 appears 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.
- Travers (Head)
- Dolores Umbridge (Head sometime before 1995)
- Mafalda Hopkirk (assistant)
- Honoria's fiancé
- Mafalda Hopkirk's Ministerial Superior
- Rufus Fudge (suspended)
- Orabella Nuttley
Behind the scenes
- Given the existence of the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, the Office for the Removal of Curses, Jinxes, and Hexes and the Office for the Detection and Confiscation of Counterfeit Defensive Spells and Protective Objects, all of which in the strictest sense is tasked with dealing with 'improper use of magic', the Improper Use of Magic Office might also be, in addition to the name of the place where Mafalda Hopkirk work, in the bigger schemes of things used to refer to a whole division divided into numerous subsections for different kinds of 'improper use of magic', all of which receives their assignments from the figurative 'command centre' that is the Improper Use of Magic Office, which receives intelligence about misuse of magic and delegates the practical and regulatory aspects of the job to the relevant subsection depending on the specific sort of misuse of magic in question while the Improper Use of Magic itself attends to the judicial part, as well as maintain written correspondence with the involved parties, as well as notifying the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes if required.
- This would also explain how Arthur Weasley could rush out to the home of ex-Auror Alastor Moody before the Improper Use of Magic Office could "get their hands on him" after he jinxed a couple of dustbins outside his house (within the view of resident Muggles) without the latter being able to claim jurisdiction regardless of Arthur's interception or simply pull rank on the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, as it in a sense would already be representing a part of the Improper Use of Magic Office itself.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the Improper Use of Magic Office is incorrectly referred to as a the "Improper Use of Magic Department". This is not coherent with the Ministry functional directory set forth in the books in which Offices are smaller divisions of the larger Departments (in this case, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement).
- In a prop letter made for the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (that went unused in the final film), Mafalda Hopkirk is referred to as the "Commander-in-Chief" of the Improper Use of Magic Office — whereas Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows gives her position as "an assistant in the Improper Use of Magic Office".
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Mentioned only)
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Mentioned only)
- Wonderbook: Book of Spells (First appearance)
- Pottermore (Mentioned only)
Notes and references
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Chapter 2 (Dobby's Warning)
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 2 (A Peck of Owls)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Chapter 7 (The Ministry of Magic)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Chapter 12 (Magic is Might)
- ↑ Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Chapter 11 (Ministry Interior)
- ↑ Harry Potter Limited Edition (see this image)