After undergraduate studies at the University of Cape Town (B.A., B.Sc.), Sir Frank Berman came to Wadham on a Rhodes Scholarship in 1961 to read law, taking 1st class honours in Jurisprudence and winning the Martin Wronker Prize in 1963. He continued with doctoral research at Wadham (later at Nuffield) under the supervision of the late Sir Ian Brownlie until joining the Foreign Office as an Assistant Legal Adviser in 1965.During his time in the Diplomatic Service, he served abroad in the British Military Government in Berlin, in the British Embassy in Bonn, and as Legal Counsellor to the UK Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, where he was in addition Alternate Representative to the General Assembly and the Security Council. He became Deputy Legal Adviser to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in 1988, and was appointed the Legal Adviser in 1991, which position he held until his retirement in 1999. He was made CMG in 1986, KCMG in 1994, and was awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Star of the Republic of Austria in 2007.

Sir Frank was called to the Bar in 1966, appointed Honorary QC in 1992, and elected an Honorary Bencher of the Middle Temple in 1997. Since 2000 he has practised at Essex Court Chambers as a barrister and international arbitrator. He currently sits as arbitrator in ten cases under the ICSID system of the World Bank, the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, and the rules of the UN Commission on International Trade Law, in five of them as President. He has served as Agent or Agent and Counsel for the United Kingdom in various proceedings before the International Court of Justice, and as Judge ad hoc in the Case concerning Certain Property between Liechtenstein and the Federal Republic of Germany. He is acting for Cambodia in the pending ICJ proceedings on the Interpretation of the Judgment in the Temple Case, and was recently appointed by the Lord Chief Justice to be the Legal Member in the Court of Arbitration under the Indus Waters Treaty of 1961.

Since 2000, Sir Frank has been Honorary Fellow of Wadham and Visiting Professor of international law in the Law Faculty at Oxford, holding visiting professorships as well at the University of Cape Town and King?s College London. At Oxford, he has played a full part in undergraduate teaching of public international law, shared in collaborative teaching for the BCL/MJUR, acted as research supervisor for MPhil and DPhil, and as assessor or internal examiner for both degrees and for the MLitt. For OUP he is the editor of McNair?s Law of Treaties and general editor of the Oxford International Law Library. He is a member of the editorial board of the British Year Book of International Law.