Brian Fall was educated at St Paul's School, London, Magdalen College, Oxford, and the University of Michigan Law School. After National Service in the British Army 1955–57 he continued as a reserve officer of the Royal Military Police. He entered the Diplomatic Service in 1962 and was appointed an established officer of the Service in 1965. He served in Moscow and Geneva before a year as Course Director at the Civil Service College 1970–71. After serving in the Foreign Office and as consul at New York he spent a year as a Visiting Fellow at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.
After another period in Moscow 1977–79, Fall was head of the Energy, Science and Space Department at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) 1979–80 and then head of the Eastern European and Soviet Department 1980–81. He then spent three years as Principal Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, serving three Foreign Secretaries, Lord Carrington, Francis Pym and Sir Geoffrey Howe. He then worked for Lord Carrington again as Director of the Private Office of the Secretary General of NATO before being appointed Assistant Under Secretary of State (Defence) at the FCO 1986–88. He was then Minister and Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy in Washington 1988–89, High Commissioner to Canada 1989–92 and Ambassador to Russia 1992–95. As Ambassador to Russia just after the break-up of the Soviet Union, Fall was also accredited to nine Post-Soviet states until they received their own ambassadors.
In stories about his daughter in 2010, the UK Daily Mail claimed that Sir Brian is "credited with triggering Vladimir Putin's rise", apparently because he "introduced Putin to President Yeltsin". No evidence was provided to substantiate this claim, and there is in fact no such evidence: Sir Brian cannot remember ever having met Putin.
After retiring from the Diplomatic Service in 1995, Sir Brian Fall was principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, from 1995–2002. He was also an adviser to Rio Tinto Group and a governor of St Mary's School (Calne).
In 2002 Sir Brian was appointed the UK's Special Representative for Georgia, becoming a member of the "Group of Friends of the UN Secretary General on Georgia". This appointment was later expanded to cover the whole of the South Caucasus.
Brian Fall was appointed CMG in the Queen's Birthday Honours of 1984, knighted KCMG in the New Year Honours of 1992 and received the additional knighthood of GCVO in 1994. He was elected an honorary Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, on retiring as Principal. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by York University, Toronto, in 2002.
|Principal Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary
Sir Alan Urwick
|High Commissioner to Canada
Sir Rodric Braithwaite
|Ambassador to Russia
Sir Andrew Wood
|Principal of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
- FALL, Sir Brian (James Proetel), Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, 2014 (online edition, Oxford University Press, Dec 2013)
- "Sir Brian Fall: Special Representative for South Caucasus". Foreign & Commonwealth Office. 9 September 2010. Archived from the original on 11 October 2012.
- The London Gazette: . 22 October 1957.
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- Meet Dave's very own Fall girl: Kate Fall appointed as Cameron's 'gatekeeper', Mail Online, 16 May 2010
- Cameron's top aide and husband split, Mail Online, 30 November 2010
- FCO Announces New UK Special Representative For Georgia, 1 October 2002
- Georgia – Hansard, 16 October 2002
- Lords Hansard text for 22 May 2007
- The London Gazette: . 16 June 1984.
- The London Gazette: . 31 December 1991.
- The London Gazette: . 18 November 1994.
- Profile: Sir Brian Fall – Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford
- York University to award honorary degrees to former Ontario Lt.-Gov. Hilary Weston, retired British diplomat Sir Brian Fall – York University