In Australia, before conducting research with human participants, researchers must have their research plan reviewed by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) to ensure that proposed methods meet ethical requirements and protect the welfare of participants. In addition, it has been proposed that HRECs can contribute to a novice researcher’s ethical mindfulness. To explore this suggestion, the current self-reflective case study examines the dialogue between a PhD candidate and the HREC that reviewed his proposed study of family bereavement in the context of the potential for organ donation. Findings suggest that when a respectful, problem-solving attitude is adopted by both parties, a learning environment evolves where diverse views, differences of opinion, and novel solutions are tolerated. In this context, the research plan is improved and the novice researcher’s ability to apply research ethics is developed. Simultaneously, members of the HREC gain practice in the identification of ethical dilemmas and the application of ethical principles that help resolve those dilemmas.