Examiner's approach to LW (ENG) and (GLO)

LW (ENG) and (GLO) are offered as on-demand computer-based exams (CBEs). This article explains the content and approach in relation to the exam structure for LW (ENG) and (GLO).

The syllabus

The general aim of LW is the development of knowledge and understanding about the general legal framework within which an accountant operates. To that end it is thought necessary to develop an awareness of specific legal areas of central importance to business in general, and to accountants in particular.

It has to be emphasised that LW does not aim to make candidates into lawyers. For the most part, in a ‘real life’ context, legal questions will be dealt with by legal professionals. Accountants must be aware, however, of the legal framework within which their legal professionals operate, and indeed which controls their operation, and must be sufficiently sensitive to the fact that certain issues require expert legal advice.

The stated capabilities of the LW syllabus are as follows:

  • Identifying the essential elements of the legal system, including the main sources of law. (It is felt that candidates must have a minimum understanding of the legal framework in order to understand the operation of the substantive law).
  • Recognising and applying the appropriate legal rules relating to the law of obligations (both contractual and tortious). (These are the essential legal relationships that people generally enter into, but accountants in particular must be aware of the issues raised. Negligence is felt essential as it is the basis for understanding professional negligence. It should be noted that in terms of tort law attention will be focussed on the essential business-centred torts of passing off and negligence.)
  • Explaining and applying the law relating to employment relationships.
  • Distinguishing between alternative forms and constitutions of business organisations.
  • Recognising and comparing types of capital and the financing of companies.
  • Describing and explaining how companies are managed, administered, and regulated.
  • Recognising the legal implications relating to insolvency law.
  • Demonstrating an understanding of various criminal offences that may arise in the operation of businesses. This includes insider dealing, market abuse, money laundering, bribery, the failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion, and fraudulent and wrongful trading. 

The foregoing has referred specifically to the LW (ENG) syllabus. The LW (GLO) syllabus,  shares some of the syllabus with LW (ENG) including the company law, insolvency law and coporate fradulent and criminal behaviour aspects, However the first three capabilities are.designed to reflect international aspects of business law and are as follows:..

  • Identifying the essential elements of different legal systems including the main sources of law, the relationship between the different branches of a state’s constitution, and the need for international legal regulation, and explaining the roles of international organisations in the promotion and regulation of international trade, and the role of international arbitration as an alternative to court adjudication
  • Recognising and apply the appropriate legal rules applicable under the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, and explaining the various ways in which international business transactions can be funded
  • Recognising different types of international business forms.

The exam

The exam is a two-hour exam, and it is divided into two sections.

Section A is worth 70 marks. It contains a mixture of 20 one-mark and 25 two-mark questions. The use of the word ‘mixture’ is deliberate, as it is important to emphasise that within the exam  questions are randomised, so candidates have to recognise the area of law they are dealing with before offering an answer. It should also be emphasised that the whole syllabus is open to be examined and the availability of 45 questions makes it highly likely that all aspects of the syllabus will be examined in each exam.

Candidates are required to select the correct one from a list of potential answers. As objective test (OT) questions there can only be one correct answer to each question. The allocation of marks will depend on the complexity of the question with one-mark questions having three possible answers and two-mark questions having four possible answers.

Section B contains five six-mark multi-task questions, which are  analysis/application questions. The format of the questions are  problem scenarios and they contain a series of tasks that relate to a scenario.


A significant part of any educational process is about imparting knowledge, and clearly objective testing is capable of assessing whether that knowledge has been assimilated or not. The  structure of LW is designed to assess whether candidates possess a sufficient level of legal knowledge to be deemed fit to function as accountants.

Knowledge has to be marshalled appropriately; there is only one correct answer and candidates must know it. Also, the  format stops the question-spotting provider of prepared answers. The sheer number, together with the randomisation, of questions requires candidates to cover the whole syllabus and requires them to think about what aspect of that syllabus they are being questioned on.

However, education is much more than the mere passing on of knowledge; it is about the inculcation of the higher level skills of analysis, reflection and synthesis.  Questions in Section B  are capable of testing those higher skills. Candidates may only be required to provide short responses to question prompts, but in order to get the correct answer, they must engage in the appropriate processes of analysis, and reflection. Candidates may not be required to write out those processes but the provision of the correct answer is the proof that they have nonetheless engaged in those processes.


LW continues to recognise that candidates are potential accountants, rather than potential lawyers. The structure of the exam is designed to assess that with the aim of developing knowledge and skills in the understanding of the general legal framework, and of specific areas relating to business, recognising the need to seek specialist legal advice where necessary.