"The Ministry of Magic wishes you a pleasant day..."
-- the Welcome Witch's voice at Ministry Headquarters (OP7)
The Ministry of Magic is the governmental authority for the Wizarding world in Britain. The basic mission of the Ministry of Magic is to keep the Muggles from finding out about an entire culture of magical folk. It’s a huge, complicated, and inefficient bureaucracy, just like most governmental organizations.
The Ministry consists of seven departments of which the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is the largest. All of the other departments are in some way answerable to it, with the possible exception of the Department of Mysteries (FB). These Departments are:
- Department of Magical Law Enforcement
- Department of Magical Games and Sports
- Department of International Magical Cooperation
- Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes
- Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures
- Department of Magical Transportation
- Department of Mysteries
The Ministry has its headquarters in London (PA11, OP7, DH12, DH13). It consists of numerous Departments, Committees, Boards, and Offices whose job it is to make and enforce laws and regulations. Besides keeping the activities of Witches and Wizards hidden from the Muggles (and swooping in with Memory Charms when things get out of hand), the Ministry also handles commerce, sport, transportation, magical creatures, and international relations.
There are a number of law enforcement agencies within the Ministry. They maintain order, enforce laws and regulations, deal with breaches of security, and operate Azkaban, the wizard prison. This high-security fortress is located on a tiny island far out to sea. It is guarded by Dementors (PA5). The Ministry also maintains squads of Hit-Wizards to deal with criminals and elite Aurors to track down Dark wizards. The Wizengamot is the High Wizard Court, a body which serves as the ultimate arbiter of justice for the wizarding world.
The Muggle Prime Minister is aware of the wizarding world (HBP1) . Presumably this is also true of the President of the United States and of other world leaders. Both when Sirius Black (July 1993) (PA2) and when ten top Death Eaters (1996) (OP25) escaped from Azkaban, Cornelius Fudge informed the Prime Minister the escapees were dangerous wizards because he posed a threat to Muggles as well as magic folk. In extreme cases where a magical creature has been seen by Muggles and the usual interventions won't suffice, the Office of Misinformation (part of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures) works with the Muggle Prime Minister to concoct a believable lie to give to the public (FB, c.f. HBP1 ).
From the Web
Harry Potter and the Half-Crazed Bureaucracy by Benjamin H. Barton, scholarly article from Michigan Law Review
Introduction to Magical Law by Nick Moline, from Justia.com