From Quidditch to Chocolate Frogs, Sorting Hat and Dumbledore… the magical world of Harry Potter seems like a mere fictional fantasy, but do you know that we can actually learn a thing or two from J.K.Rowling’s Wizarding Law?
#1 The sale of drugs and weapons may just be legal in the Wizarding World.
Due to lack of knowledge on the subject matter, things like narcotics, gambling, prostitution are probably legal in the Wizarding World. Besides fixed legislative bans such as the breeding of dragons (thanks to the Warlock’s Convention of 1709), I’m pretty sure there’s no mention of Veela engaging in paid sexual activities or drug addicts huddling in the Leaky Cauldron.
Arms dealing also seems completely legal as Olivander technically sells weapons to children. With just a “swish and flick”, you might find yourself turned into a ferret and being bounced up and down by your mortal enemies.
#2 There’s NO Family Law.
The Sorcerer’s Stone opens with Harry’s placement with the Dursleys. Here we have an infant child whose parents have been killed by Lord Voldemort, left on the doorstep of his aunt and uncle’s house. Although the law might presume that placement with blood relatives would be in the best interests of an orphaned infant (the book also made no mention of any other relatives besides the Dursleys), there would be home visits, trips to the judge, and reams of paperwork before Harry would spend his first night with the Dursleys.
However, this was NOT the case for the wizarding world. Professor Albus Dumbledore, made a unilateral decision that Harry should be taken to his aunt and uncle, with the reason being, “they’re the only family he has left now”.
That decision, moreover, is not transmitted through a court document, nor are any instructions for Harry’s upbringing given to his new caregivers. Dumbledore merely explained: “I’ve written them a letter.” This clearly indicates that Wizarding Laws do not operate in the realm of Family Law.
#3 An authoritarian Ministry of Magic?
It is not democratic.
At no point in any of the Harry Potter books is an election mentioned. To the contrary, in the Half-Blood Prince, Cornelius Fudge was replaced as Minister of Magic after being “sacked,” all with no reference to an election.
Might seem weird how the cosy universe of Harry Potter actually centers around a totalitarian government, doesn’t it?
There also isn’t a classic executive, legislative or judicial body. Magical Britain seems to follow an administrative law system with most of the laws coming in the form of regulations from the various departments. For example, the Muggle Protection Act was partially written by Arthur Weasley as the head of the Improper Use of Magic Office.
#4 There’s also death penalty.
Not all killings are murder, and the wizarding world apparently acknowledges the legality of some killings with the Ministry’s Aurors being permitted to kill on occasion.
The Dementor’s Kiss is a de facto death penalty, especially towards prisoners in Azkaban. Yet the Ministry inflicts it on wizards without due process, although ironically, this is similar to English law due to the rise of the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy.
The situation of house-elves is, not surprisingly, even worse. Not only do they have no right to due process; their execution apparently does not even require the authorization of the Ministry. Their enslavement gives their masters the power of life and death over them, with freedom being counted all on a sock.
Upon reading this, you don’t feel too bad about supporting Hermione’s SPEW organisation, now right?
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