Dolores Umbridge sent two Dementors to kiss Harry Potter illegally. She used a Blood Quill — a dark artifact — on at least two students — Harry and Lee Jordan. She was planning to use the Cruciatus — one of the Unforgivable Curses — on Harry to give up Dumbledore's location. She used what she thought was Veritaserum on Harry illegally.

So, why was she not arrested immediately? In fact, it seems that she wasn't even fired from the Ministry when Scrimgeour became Minister. Considering that Dumbledore had Sirius Black exonerated after his death , arresting and convicting Umbridge should have been quite simple. Yet, she was arrested only after his seventh year.

  • @SQB -Is it not appropriate to use the 'crime' tag here?
    – user88577
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 7:53
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    @Mr.Riddle it may be appropriate, but not very helpful. Is someone who is very knowledgeable about crime in science fiction and fantasy going to be much help here? I doubt it. Are people who are very knowledgeable about the Harry Potter franchise going to be much help? You bet your behind they will be!
    – SQB
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 8:02
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    @SQB- Alright, I get it now.
    – user88577
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 8:04
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    Nice question. I think both answers are good (even if the 2nd may have a legal error), but I'd love a more detailed answer. A list of crimes and as I recall, the ministry under Scrimgeour (sp?) was pretty shady and likely had a number of death-eaters in high office, and worse stuff happened at hogwarts during the senior year than Umbridge, if I recall. It's been too long since I read the books, I don't remember enough details.
    – userLTK
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 13:42
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    The government was extremely dysfunctional and Dolores was very well connected. End of story.
    – BlackThorn
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 17:45

4 Answers 4


Because there were more pressing issues at the time

In the change of regimes that followed Fudge’s forced resignation, Dolores was able to slip back into her former position at the Ministry. The new Minister, Rufus Scrimgeour, had more immediate problems pressing in on him than Dolores Umbridge. Scrimgeour was later punished for this oversight, because the fact that the Ministry had never punished Dolores for her many abuses of power seemed to Harry Potter to reveal both its complacency and its carelessness. Harry considered Dolores’s continuing employment, and the lack of any repercussions for her behaviour at Hogwarts, a sign of the Ministry’s essential corruption, and refused to cooperate with the new Minister because of it.

Pottermore - Dolores Umbridge

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    It might be worth qualifying that as saying the Ministry thought there were more pressing issues. Others—notably Harry Potter—disagreed.
    – KRyan
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 15:31
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    @KRyan - I think it's to let Rowling's words stand for themselves. (Which is why I've provided a direct JKR quote without any considerable commentary.)
    – ibid
    Commented Feb 7, 2018 at 15:46
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    I don't think Harry would disagree that fighting Voldemort and Deatheaters, etc was more pressing than dealing with Umbridge. But the Ministry really should have done both. Commented Feb 8, 2018 at 5:16

The other answer is very good and explains clearly but I would add something else. There is not enough proof:

  • There is no proof that Umbridge sent those Dementors. Of course you can always use Veritaserum.
  • Blood quill and Veritaserum are not illegal. She has total control over school rules and she can bend them in any way she wants. They might be illegal normally but they are not when Umbridge performs them.
  • Planning is not a crime.

Of course if they wanted to arrest her, these wouldn’t matter and in this case we go back to other answer.

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    Using Veritaserum is illegal when it has not been sanctioned by the Ministry of Magic. This is mentioned in book 7. The Ministry has strict guidelines over usage of Veritaserum. There is no question that the usage of the blood quill was illegal. The other answer confirms that she was punished for those crimes, after the war. The only question is why she wasn't punished before, which ibid has answered perfectly. As for proof, Harry's testimony should be enough, along with Hermione who witnessed it. +1 for the attempt, anyway
    – user88577
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 13:05
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    Conspiracy/planning to do something illegal is also illegal, in most places. Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 16:59
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    @Mr.Riddle, perhaps this should be a separate question, but what evidence do you have that the use of the blood quills was illegal? I don't see anything in either of the other answers, or in the Pottermore link, to conclude that. (As for Veritaserum, Umbridge is in the Ministry, so for all we know she can perfectly legally grant herself permission to use it.) Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 18:45
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    I viewed blood quills much like spanking today: highly frowned upon, but not yet to the point of actual illegality. It's also possible one of the many Educational Decrees explicitly permitted their use. Those had effective force of law... though I'd have to go back and check if the quills started before the decrees. Finally, I don't recall if any other student was made to use the quills. It's possible these were reserved for Harry alone, and, if so, he chose to tough it out rather than report her. Therefore: no one to press charges. Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 19:24
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    @Joel, at least one other student, Lee Jordan. Probably more. But yes, wizarding law isn't exactly enlightened by Muggle standards. Argus Filch was always wanting to inflict extreme corporal punishments, and IIRC blamed Dumbledore rather than any change in the law. That's the impression I had at any rate. Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 21:46

I agree with the marked answer and would like to add on a few points.

Yes, there were more pressing issues at that time but also:

  • Neither Harry nor anyone else report any of those illegal actions. When Umbridge used the blood quill on Harry, he "didn't want to tell this incident to Dumbledore since he was preoccupied with a lot of other, more important things"
  • Moreover, Umbridge was sent to Hogwarts by the ministry of magic to do just that. The minister of magic, Cornelius Fudge, did not want to believe that Voldermort had returned which both Dumbledore and Harry claimed. As per Fudge, this was a conspiracy to overthrow the minister. So safe to say, no one would believe or help Harry to punish Umbridge from Ministry of Magic.
  • Even when Umbridge threatened to use the cruciatus curse on Harry she said "What Cornelius doesn't know won't hurt him".

All this, and the reason that Harry and Hermoine were being tortured and pushed to give up the secret weapon of the order of the phoenix, was probably why they took the matters into their own hands and handed her over to Grawp and the Centaurs in the forbidden forest.

Why was she not arrested after Dumbledore came back and Umbridge resumed her job at Ministry of Magic ?

  • Umbridge was "a woman of power", so she obviously had connections in the Ministry (she directly reported to the Minister of Magic).
  • By the time she was back in power after her time "teaching" at Hogwarts, the Ministry had almost already been infiltrated by Death Eaters and/or Voldemort supporters and spies. She wasn't necessarily part of that crowd, but they were more into the idea of chaos and darkness (ie: Dementors and torture) enough to possibly overlook anything wrong with what she did.

As to why, they didn't complain to Dumbledore regarding what had happened, they probably thought(speculation?) what happened to Umbridge at the end of OOTP was a suffice punishment since they didn't seem to worry about her after that and headed straight to the ministry. And, even Dumbledore wouldn't have been able to punish Umbridge without the Ministry of Magic's involvement.

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    You've explained why she wasn't arrested while she was in Hogwarts. And you're quite right. But my question is why she wasn't arrested after she left. Surely the Hogwarts staff must have known a few of the blood quill-detentions. They would have informed Dumbledore after he returned to Hogwarts. And Regarding proof, the back of Harry's hand should have sufficed.
    – user88577
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 16:47
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    @Mr.Riddle Edited my answer to address your comment. Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 17:19
  • @ShobhitGarg - "They probably thought" is just idle speculation, not a good basis for an answer.
    – JohnP
    Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 17:22
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    @JohnP Yes, I agree. Hence the word speculation in parenthesis at the end of the phrase. Commented Feb 6, 2018 at 17:34
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    One tidbit about reporting the abuse: When Harry has his chat with Scrimgeour in Half-Blood Prince, he shows the scars on his hand with the expectation that the Minister know their provenance. I can't see how he would even think to expect that unless the assault had been reported.
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Jan 28, 2019 at 2:53

It could also have been because Voldemort was alive and active at the time, and already had operatives in the MoM. I'm sure he would have wanted a toadying lickspittle like Umbridge in the Ministry and under his thumb. Voldemort likely used his influence within the Ministry to secure Umbridge's position and keep her there, even if only as one of his 'useful idiots'.

Certainly Umbridge seemed to have no problem with Voldemort after he took over the MoM. She was given a top job, and spent all her time tormenting muggle-borns in the jails, writing up anti-muggle pamphlets, and any spare time in her office dreaming up ways to make sure Harry was 'punished' after he was captured.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. Do you have any evidence for this, or is it just a personal theory? (For example that Voldemort already had that much control over the Ministry.) You might want to read How to Answer; answers should cite supporting sources, not just state theories.
    – DavidW
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 19:35

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