This article examines the prospect for more fruitful collaborative research between labour law and industrial relations, using recent studies in labour law as a starting point. An increased and more sophisticated interest in labour law as regulation, particularly in Australia, has moved the discipline towards some of the traditional interest areas of industrial relations. However there remains a need for more empirically-based research, with the social reality of law as its primary focus. The legal studies paradigm is not well geared to social science research and an interdisciplinary approach is required. Industrial relations is the obvious candidate for such a partnership, but it currently lacks the basis for a law-centred methodology. The paper argues that the established field of sociology of law provides the most suitable basis for such work. To adopt this approach would, however, require scholars in both labour law and industrial relations to move onto new terrain and to ask new questions.