Internal recruitment......or not.

I was wondering if any of the smart cookies of this parish could shine a light on a recent recruitment issue at my work (big aerospace company.)

Basically, our line manager moved on and the position was advertised internally. A few of the guys in my office (not me though) applied. I personally thought it was a bit strange when the applicants were given a half-arrsed interview by phone, when the position normally warrants a face-to-face interview, with prospective candidates flying down to our main base. Certainly, this is what I had to do a few years ago.

None of my colleagues were successful: the job was given to an external candidate. Basically, the UK director gave the job to a sockpuppet buddy he already had lined up.
Now, politics aside, is this legal under existing employment law, given that it hadn't been advertised externally? Most of the casework I've came across in subsequent searches seems to refer to the situation/query being the other way round: I can't get an answer to this particular scenario.


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