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Wizarding Lawyers

Hi guys, it's SoA here. So recently I made a character, Aretha Harkness and myself and some of the users were discussing what the canon position on Wizarding Lawyers are. For clarification, we may refer to the HP Wiki:

A third-party with legal knowledge may speak on behalf of a defendant, fulfilling a similar role to that of a modern barrister. However, no wizarding lawyers seem to exist, and the practise of having a spokesperson on behalf of a defendant appears to be rare.

The Issue

So there are a few ways in which this definition is controversial and unhelpful, to be frank.

  • The definition is speculative. It doesn't work on absolutes. "No wizarding lawyers seem to exist." and "having a spokesperson...appears to be rare." are just a couple of examples of how the definition doesn't necessarily provide us with a concrete answer. Canon, by definition, must be absolute.
  • The argument is circulus in probando. The reasoning is circular and fallacious. It says that wizarding lawyers do not exist, however the representatives they have in court are equivalent to barristers. A barrister, by definition, is a lawyer. So what is the truth? Do we take barristers to mean lawyers or are they not? If we decide these representatives are not barristers, they still must have some legal knowledge and courtroom etiquette, so why would we not name them as Lawyers?
  • The definition is based off limited premises. In the HP books, we have three cases of a Wizengamot trial. These are as follows:
    • The Trial of Igor Karkaroff (sometime after October 1981), where he bribes the Wizengamot to release him in exchange for names of Death Eaters
    • The Trial of Harry Potter (12th August 1995), for use of the Patronus charm in the presence of his muggle cousin. NB: This was a disciplinary hearing rather than a trial.
    • The Trial of Mary Cattermole (2nd September 1997), for 'stealing' her wand from a witch.

Now the last point is important when assessing this situation, because the problem I face is that we have so little subjection to courtroom etiquette in the HP series, so we cannot know whether using a barrister is as rare as the HP wiki would have us believe. Out of these three cases, the only time a barrister was present was the 1995 Potter trial. If we consider the presence of Dumbledore in this trial, it is highly unlikely that Harry would have walked out freely and gone back into Hogwarts. The reason for this is because regular citizens will not have the knowledge of the justice system to defend themselves in court. This poses the question: how can we have a fair trial without a legal representative present?

The Solution

Now, you could say that trials could be done with Veritaserum, and job's a good'un. However, besides it being expensive and not always practical, we all know the truth can be manipulated, by direct or targeted questioning. So the other option remains us using legal representatives in the name of Lawyers to represent defendants.

I would argue that Lawyers can be used, independent of the Ministry, and employed privately to represent people who are to stand in trial before the Wizengamot. The lawyer would involve building up a defence, arguing it infront of the Wizengamot (who in this situation would act as the jury) for them to vote on an outcome. This way we're not necessarily breaking canon, but working around it.

The Wizengamot

This is a tricky one. If we're to use my proposed system for wizarding trials, we need a functioning Wizengamot. I would argue that this would be fairest structured like so:

  • Chief Warlock (to act as a judge and mediator)
  • Dept Heads of the Ministry (wizengamot members/jury)
  • Auror head/Aurors (the role of the prosecution)
  • Lawyer (the role of the defence)

My Proposal

I propose we put this to a vote. So now, if there was to be a trial, it would work in the way I outlined above. Please feel free to add any comments or ideas below, as we're always looking for ways to improve the way we RP! Is this America's Next Top Model? Imageedit 3 5390623584 ~SoA 14:29, July 10, 2017 (UTC)


Votes For (+17)

  1. Is this America's Next Top Model? Imageedit 3 5390623584 ~SoA 15:31, July 10, 2017 (UTC)
  2. I'm all for this - I think it's a perfectly sound idea, and could offer many interesting RP opportunities, especially with the amount of Dark Wizards running amok. But oh, my darling, what if you fly? 14:32, July 10, 2017 (UTC)
  3. It works out, especially with the changes I have in mind for the Ministry. It opens another career possibility for adult characters, it encourages the creation and development of all kinds of characters - law-abiding, dark, even aurors working on the cases. And it doesn't break any rules or canon, so yes, I'm game. - jayemalik'
  4. beating on the table* YES. I find it incredibly unrealistic that official lawyers would just...not exist. It's an opportunity to make money, and it's wrong of governemnt to assume everyone will have an in-depth knowlege of laws. My only concern is that, like a lot of professions on the wiki, it won't be very active and as such not worth the effort to organize. (It would still be good to decide that there are wizarding lawyers in Britain, though--and elsewhere I suppose, though I doubt the rest of the world would be so...well, as I said, a lack of lawyers is unrealistic.) 15:29, July 10, 2017 (UTC)
  5. tbh i had a problem regarding this with Jade, who had no defence. So yes.
    Eyes Up, Guardian. LissPageFox
    15:43, July 10, 2017 (UTC)
  6. Love sought is good, but giv'n unsought is better. 16:14, July 10, 2017 (UTC)
  7. I see no reason why this shouldn't be a thing. It could open a door to opportunity, for sure. Like a Satellite, I'm in Orbit all the Way Around You ~Sophie
  8. It seems like it would well in the wiki and it's a good idea so I'll give my vote. 왜 이렇게 밤이 길고 왜 이렇게 잠은 안 와? exo-cbx, sweet dreams
  9. MoniqueHeart Brocky The Heart may be leaving right now, but it's not gone it's still beating full of love. 10,519

  10. Queen of Anarchy
  11. PAINTEDRED 20:52, July 10, 2017 (UTC)
  12. - send them some mojos 🌺🍋⚾🍑💦 20:56, July 10, 2017 (UTC)
  13. I don't see why not. 💎 절반이 없는데 어떻게 하나로 살아 💎
  14. You are, and always have been,my dream. I love you more than there are stars in the sky and fish in the sea. 05:02, July 11, 2017 (UTC)
  15. Untitled-2Midnightsonata 10:38, July 11, 2017 (UTC)
  16. Anchor"Smooth seas have never made for skilled sailors." Talk Anchor
  17. TardisIcon laugh hard, run fast,be kind... doctor, i let you go.

Votes Against


I don't know how long to put the vote/vote parameters so if an admin/crat wants to decide that? Thanks. Is this America's Next Top Model? Imageedit 3 5390623584 ~SoA 14:29, July 10, 2017 (UTC)

Keep the vote going for an OOC week, so voting closes at midnight on the 18th of July, unless not many people vote -then we can look into extending the deadline. :)

TardisIcon laugh hard, run fast,be kind... doctor, i let you go.

So are we saying lawyers are connected to the DMLE? Or are they separate, and almost "freelance" or with their own legal firm? Love sought is good, but giv'n unsought is better. 16:15, July 10, 2017 (UTC)
I would say they'd be more freelance/firm based. But I guess the ministry could employ some? That'd be up to DMLE head I guess.  Is this America's Next Top Model? Imageedit 3 5390623584 ~SoA 16:19, July 10, 2017 (UTC)

I don't mind either way, and I love the idea. I just felt that we should probably clarify that. :P Love sought is good, but giv'n unsought is better. 16:21, July 10, 2017 (UTC)

Just asking...for trials how many members for the wizengamount would be needed? Would it differ depending on the "severity" of the trial? Also, what's the line between Auror and Lawyer stuff? Where do aurors have authority and where do lawyers? When they step on one another's toes, we should know who has authority and who doesn't. :P Bond_em7 (Owl Me) 16:27, July 10, 2017 (UTC)

So with the wizengamot I'm thinking there are 10 positions (exc. Chief Warlock):
  1. Senior Undersecretary
  2. Head of DMLE
  3. Head of Magical Accidents & Catastrophes
  4. Head of Dept. Magical Creatures
  5. Head of Dept. Games & Sports
  6. Head of Dept. Education
  7. Head of International Magical Cooperation
  8. Head of Dept. Magical Transportation
  9. Head of Dept. Tecnological Acvancement
  10. Head of Dept. of Mysteries
I imagine all ten would need to be present during court cases, which would be a good way of ensuring our dept. heads are all active users. Insofar as the line between the aurors/lawyers, we just do it like real life. The Aurors collect evidence, interrogate suspects and carry out a trial. The lawyers do their best to prove their client's innocence. Auror's have the authority over lawyers in that they are obliged to see justice carried out. The lawyers can represent their clients and prevent things like immediate questioning without the presence of the client's lawyer. But at the end of the day, the Aurors work like the police do. 
Is this America's Next Top Model? Imageedit 3 5390623584 ~SoA 19:25, July 10, 2017 (UTC)

So...are we going to be having a lot of trials...?

03:45, July 11, 2017 (UTC)

^I guess that depends more on the userbase? I mean, this mostly give the potential for it...?

Can we have cute lil small claims? Mostly as fun, I guess? Like, Wizengamot is in court for... This 14 year old using magic in London, England, around muggles...? Things like that! It'll be nice!
Eyes Up, Guardian. LissPageFox
03:59, July 11, 2017 (UTC)

I don't see why not! The good thing is, having these court cases also offer fun RPs but IC consequences to characters actions!

Is this America's Next Top Model? Imageedit 3 5390623584 ~SoA 07:56, July 11, 2017 (UTC)