|Improper Use of Magic Office|
Level 2, Ministry of Magic
Investigates illegal uses of magic
The Office is responsible for investigating serious violations of national and international wizarding law, be it crimes such as unlicensed Apparation, the creation of unauthorized Portkeys, unregistered Animaguses and bewitchment (but not misuse) of Muggle artifacts or more major crimes that may pose a large-scale risk for the wizarding community in large. 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 the infringement is so severe that they may be referred to the Wizengamot, a member of the staff from the Office will be assigned to be present in the court room in order to contribute the processing of trials of those who are charged with that offense of the kind that the Improper Use of Magic Office enforces and function as a stenographer, writing in shorthand or taking dictation for record purposes. Considering the fact that the Ministry of Magic has no way of detecting the creation of unauthorized Portkeys when a witch or wizard unlawfully bewitch a Muggle object unless in the presence of a under-aged witch or wizard, it relies heavily on receiving intelligence reports from various sources around the wizarding society, including from the public.
Less serious crimes which may be considered too trivial for the Office to handle, is often delegated to smaller divisions, such reports regarding Muggle baiting, which is a violation of the Statue but not serious enough to pose a big risk, and thus it is passed on to the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office.
The most important work of the Improper Use of Magic Office is to investigate violations of the International Confederation of Wizards Statute of Secrecy, 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. 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 object of a long series of convictions and imprisonments in the wizarding prison of Azkaban. Presumably, the Office keep in touch with the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes and passes on intelligence reports on magic reported to have been used in or close proximity to non-magical locations, which would allow the Department to determine the best course of action.
As an extension of the Statue, the Improper Use of Magic also processes cases of under-aged magic, with a particular focus on witches or wizards living in an area inhabited by Muggles, namely by enforcing the Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, which prohibits an underage wizard or witch from performing magic outside school. In these cases, first-time offenders are usually let off with a warning while extreme cases may require them to take legal actions against the person(s) in question.
The Improper Use of Magic Office is also where the Animagus registration is posted, and that all Animagi must register with all their distinguishing features and traits noted, in order for them not to abuse their abilities. The registry is open to public viewing. Failing to register will receive a sentence in Azkaban. The Office also Registry of Proscribed Charmable Objects is posted and maintained.
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 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 Wizengamot Court could be held for Harry.
It is suggested that the Improper Use of Magic Office attends Wizengamot Court services, though when Harry Potter has a trial in 1995, nothing is mentioned about them, although this might simply be because of Fudge's involvement. It is presumed that this department has several positions and that they remained loyal to the Ministry even when Cornelius Fudge denied Lord Voldemort had risen again, although it is very likely the Improper Use of Magic Office were not loyal to Fudge simply felt that their hands were tied under the pressure from higher authority.
Harry was indeed tried before the entire Wizengamot court, however, it was highly unusual procedure for a case of underage use of magic. The hearing was held in Courtroom Ten below the Department of Mysteries at the Ministry of Magic. Incidentally, it was the same courtroom Harry had previously visited via the Pensieve. It was a horribly intimidating room with a chair that self-locks when the defendant sits down.
- Travers (Head)
- Dolores Umbridge (Head sometime before 1995)
- Mafalda Hopkirk (Commander-in-Chief)
- Honoria's fiancé
- Mafalda Hopkirk's Ministerial Superior
- Rufus Fudge (suspended)
- Orabella Nuttley
Behind the scenes
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).
- 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