Okay, so I've been researching on the site, but apparently this question hasn't been asked.

Throughout the book series, we only see the british position on the Unforgivable Curses; the movies show that apparently, those three spells are Unforgivable in the USA too.

Have all countries made those three spells Unforgivable? If not, is there a canon* list of the countries which do not consider those spells to be Unforgivable?

I consider canon anything coming from Pottermore, JKR interviews, and the books (in that order).

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    Which way around is that list prioritised? Is it "Pottermore < JKR interview < books"? Or is it the other way around?
    – Josh
    Apr 29, 2019 at 13:51
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    There's precious little canonical information out there about the other Ministries, let alone their laws, so I doubt there's a clear answer to this. The Fantastic Beasts films and Deathly Hallows show that there was a broad international consensus against Grindelwald and his Dark Magic - although whether that meant that the Imperius Curse, for example, was illegal in all those counties is unclear. Apr 29, 2019 at 14:10
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    @Josh sorry, it was clearer in my head. Pottermore first, then interviews, and then the books. Thanks a lot Bellatrix for the edit.
    – Orlahm
    Apr 29, 2019 at 14:45
  • @TheDarkLord sadly true. I was hoping that with Fantastic Beasts, we could have more information about Ministries in other countries.
    – Orlahm
    Apr 29, 2019 at 14:47
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    @Falyna I think it's safe to say that murder and torture would be universally illegal. Coercion is less clear. Other countries may view other crimes as being 'unforgivable'. We just don't know based on the information we have. Apr 29, 2019 at 14:50

1 Answer 1


They’re only stated to be illegal in Britain.

It’s not known if the Unforgivable Curses are legal in countries other than Britain. The law against them was created by the British Ministry of Magic, so it wouldn’t affect other countries. There’s no mention of if other countries have similar laws against either those three specific curses (Crucio, Imperio, and Avada Kedavra) or against other curses made illegal by their Ministries.

“In Beedle’s time, the Cruciatus Curse had not yet been made illegal by the Ministry of Magic,19 and could have produced precisely the sensation with which Babbitty threatens the King.”
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Additionally, the curses considered similarly punishable by law in other countries might not be the same three as they are in Britain. The Cruciatus, Imperius and Avada Kedavra curses were classified as Unforgivable by the British Ministry of Magic in 1717. Other countries may have different ideas of what constitutes a curse that the use of which is punishable by law.

19 The Cruciatus, Imperius, and Avada Kedavra curses were first classified as Unforgivable in 1717, with the strictest penalties attached to their use.”
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard

It’s very likely that other countries have laws against certain types of magic or certain specific spells, but it’s unknown exactly what those laws are or what types of magic or specific spells they legislate against, or if they’re the same ones as in Britain.

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    Also, just because a spell isn't Unforgivable doesn't mean it's not illegal, and just because it's not illegal doesn't mean its effects are legal (e.g. murder by any spell may be illegal).
    – Adamant
    Apr 29, 2019 at 21:22

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