Moral or ethical codes of practice represent one of the oldest forms of medical regulation. Legislation such as the Medical Practice Act 1992 (NSW) enables regulatory bodies to create codes of practice for medical practitioners. Such codes can become an important aspect of disciplinary proceedings by providing the yardstick against which practitioners' conduct is evaluated. An important aspect of the New South Wales Board's Code of Professional Conduct 2005 is the obligation for doctors to report adverse events which reflect on the performance or conduct of colleagues. This is part of an increasing impetus to report adverse events in the interest of public safety. In the long- term this is a constructive development as it is likely to lead to improvements in identification of risks and hazards and thereby to result in better service provision and community health.