Maltreatment of subjects has led to the introduction of an ethics review process for research involving humans. There is a feeling that the bureaucratization of the process is too restrictive and that it may be hampering research. The function, duties, and effectiveness of ethics committees are examined, and it is contended that there are problems with the way that committees operate. The remit of committees needs to be clarified, and the paper presents guidelines for making decisions on ethical matters, with deontological considerations taking precedence over consequentialist ones. It is concluded that the functions and processes of ethics committees need to be modified.