Paul Laverty was born in Calcutta, India, to an Irish mother and Scottish father. He obtained a Philosophy degree at the Gregorian University in Rome. Thereafter he obtained a law degree at Strathclyde Law School, in Glasgow.
During the mid 1980s he travelled to Nicaragua and lived there for almost three years. He worked for a Nicaraguan domestic human rights organisation which provided hard evidence of human rights abuses during the war between the Marxist Nicaraguan Government (The Sandinistas) and the United States backed "Contras" in which the subject of human rights became highly contested. He travelled to the war-zones and obtained corroborated eye witness accounts which were passed on to international human rights organisations. He also travelled widely in El Salvador, during its civil war, and Guatemala too. (His interests in Latin America affairs continued much later with long research trips to Chiapas in Mexico, and along the US - Mexican border concentrating on the city of Juarez.)
After his time in Central America Laverty made contact with director Ken Loach for whom he wrote Carla's Song, his first screenplay, which starred Robert Carlyle. For his acting in My Name is Joe, Peter Mullan won the Best Actor award at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. Bread and Roses, detailing the experiences of migrant labour, was shot in Los Angeles, and featured Adrien Brody in a leading role. Laverty's next script, Sweet Sixteen won best screenplay award in the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2005 the two men collaborated on The Wind That Shakes the Barley which concerns Ireland's independence movement of the early 1920s. The film won the Palme d'Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Laverty has written eight full length feature scripts and one short directed by Ken Loach and they have several other projects in development. Both work closely with producer Rebecca O'Brien. Loach's latest film, Looking for Eric is also a collaborative effort with Laverty and is a comedy featuring the French footballer Eric Cantona.
Before writing Laverty likes to immerse himself in the world of the film and carries out detailed research before writing the first draft. While he continues to work with Ken Loach he has other feature projects in development with other directors.