Composition and status
Connection to Muggle world
Each new Muggle Prime Minister receives a visit from the Minister for Magic, who informs them of the existence of the wizarding world. The Minister explains that they will contact the Prime Minister only in circumstances in which the events of the wizarding world may affect Muggles. For example, the Minister has to inform the Prime Minister if dangerous magical artefacts or animals are to be brought into Britain.
The Ministry keeps in touch with the British Prime Minister via a wizard's portrait in the Prime Minister's office at 10 Downing Street. The portrait, which cannot be removed from the wall (because of a Permanent Sticking Charm in place), notifies the Prime Minister of the Minister for Magic's arrival and, after they have been notified, the Minister for Magic appears in their office via the fireplace which has specifically been hooked up to the floo network.[HP6] The Ministers for Magic who appear in the Harry Potter series, such as Cornelius Fudge and Rufus Scrimgeour, tend to act in a somewhat patronising manner towards the Muggle Prime Minister.
The Ministry government succeeded the earlier "Wizards' Council," the earliest-known form of government for the wizarding world of Harry Potter.[HPF] According to Pottermore, it was formally established in 1707.
In the Harry Potter books, the Ministry's employees appear to be a largely unelected body. The post of Minister itself, however, is stated to be an elected position. Who has the power to elect or dismiss ministers is never explained. Nevertheless, both the Minister and the Ministry as a whole are seen throughout the Harry Potter series to be highly sensitive to (and reliant on) wizard public opinion, which they attempt to influence via wizarding newspapers. In the books, employment with the Ministry can be obtained right after completion of a wizarding education,[HP4] though different offices require different levels of education and sometimes specific exam results.
Furthermore, the government gives the impression of (at various times) either incompetence or malice. It often appears woefully incompetent, to the point of being unable to detect or prevent an assault on the Department of Mysteries, apparently its most heavily guarded department. Due to lax security, a group of Hogwarts students, as well as Voldemort, a dozen Death Eaters, and the Order of the Phoenix, all of whom were wanted by the government, are able to enter the department on a whim and without provoking any response whatsoever, even signing in as a "rescue mission" without attracting attention. However, these events occur under Cornelius Fudge's reign, a Minister who is renowned in the books as incompetent.[HP5] Fudge's resignation in the next book is a direct result of these events.[HP6]
Judicial system and corruption
In the books and films, the wizarding courts have displayed at times, a marked lack of interest in evidence for or against a suspect, even relying on personal prejudice to decide the outcome as quickly as possible.[HP5] Not all of the accused are even given trials, as in the case of Sirius Black.[HP4] In Order of the Phoenix, the Ministry is shown to be quite prepared to decree and enforce draconian laws without notice. At times, the Ministry can also seem uninterested in solving serious problems, choosing instead to ignore or cover up bad news. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Fudge takes a long time to respond to the attacks on Hogwarts. In the fourth and fifth instalments, Fudge refuses to believe that Lord Voldemort has returned, despite mounting evidence. The Ministry even mounts a campaign to damage Harry Potter's credibility, an effort fuelled in part by Fudge's fear that Albus Dumbledore wants to forcibly remove him from his position. Eventually, the Ministry is forced to acknowledge the emergency and act on it. Fudge is subsequently removed from office for incompetence and replaced by Rufus Scrimgeour.
When interviewed, Rowling stated that when Harry, Ron and Hermione work for the Ministry, they change it significantly, making it less corrupt.