Why is it not illegal to use Polyjuice Potion? It is the magical equivalent of identity theft.

  • 2
    Most Potente Potions (where Hermione first found the recipe) was in the School's Restricted Library. Interestingly enough, so was a book with a bit of info on horcruxes (that Riddle read in his school days). Not to mention it's /hard/ to make.
    – Oak
    Apr 3 '16 at 13:08
  • 1
    @AnthonyGrist Evidently, but that's why it's restricted. Because it's meant to be controlled. For example, someone who is extremely proeficient in sleight of hand that is against using it for 'evil' wouldn't try to teach it to someone who would use it for pickpocketing, would he?
    – Oak
    Apr 3 '16 at 13:28
  • 9
    Presumably it isn't illegal in itself, it depends what you do with it. It's basically a really good dressing up set. You can dress up all you like at a party etc, but if you go around impersonating a police officer, for example, you've got a big crime on your hands. So, I think it would be overkill to ban it as a potion, but I bet the Ministry does see it involved in lots of crimes.
    – ThruGog
    Apr 3 '16 at 13:49
  • 4
    @Thrugog In addition, many other spells (Petrificus Totalus) and potions(Draught of Living Death) are dangerous, yet they are regularly taught.
    – A. Darwin
    Apr 3 '16 at 20:36
  • 1
    I now must assume that the Harry Potter world has a massive black market for famous peoples' hairs.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Apr 4 '16 at 1:54

Who says is isn't illegal? It was found by Hermione only in Most Potente Potions, a very old book in Hogwarts' Restricted section. If it is now illegal, it probably was not, like the Unforgivable Curses, at the time the book was written. And when it was made illegal, the Hogwarts administration probably had forgotten they had the book, or just didn't care. The fact that it was put in the Restricted section and that it wasn't, as far as I can remember, taught (except to a group of select students in the NEWT classes) probably means that many adult wizards had never even heard of it, let alone have the skill and resources required to make it.

Also, it can't be used as identity theft is today because you need something like a hair from the identity-theftee before you can become an identity-thefter. You also need a bunch of rare ingredients and a month, I believe, to make it.

  • 13
    In the first sixth year's potion's lesson, it's one of the four potions that Slughorn shows to the students. And he tells them that they should be able to prepare them by the end of the seventh year. (Chapter The Halfblood Prince). So if it's on the school curricula, it's probably legal...
    – LilyM
    Apr 3 '16 at 13:31
  • 4
    @CHEESE doesn't Barty Jr (as Moody) specifically say that he is going off-curriculum when he shows them the Imperius Curse? Not sure that e.g. disproves what Lily says. Apr 3 '16 at 14:46
  • 11
    When false Moody showed (and praticed) the Unforgivable curses to the students, he did say that was off curriculum, but that, knowing this, Dumbledore wanted the students to be aware of these curses, and able to resist (at least the Imperio). But Slughorn doesn't say anything about the four potions being off curriculum, he even implies (at least I understood it that way) that they must be able to brew them to pass the NEWT (a Ministry exam)... So nothing certain of course, but I personnaly feel Polyjuice is legal
    – LilyM
    Apr 3 '16 at 15:01
  • 7
    (1) The Order used Polyjuice Potion to move Harry.  They might have done so even if it were illegal, but the fact that nobody mentions the law suggests that there isn’t one.  (2) “… it can’t be used as identity theft is today because you need something like a hair from the victim …”  So what?  You need stuff from the victim to perform mundane identity theft, too, and yet it happens.  “… many adult wizards have never even heard of it …” — so they won’t know that all cut, pulled, or otherwise discarded hairs need to be disposed of securely, like forty years ago, when we didn’t all own shredders. Apr 3 '16 at 17:22
  • 5
    Also, when Moody taught Unforgivables, it was made a big deal of, and it was part of setting the tone for his character. There's nothing about Slughorn that would suggest he randomly goes off-curriculum for his class' benefit. Maybe if he were hypothetically teaching Polyjuice Potion to people only in the Slug Club, that argument would actually apply.
    – DariM
    Apr 3 '16 at 20:56

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