An activist has settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the University of Queensland over allegations it used student misconduct proceedings to silence his protest activity against the Chinese Communist Party.

Drew Pavlou filed a lawsuit in June 2020 claiming $3.5 million in damages, alleging “deceit, conspiracy, harassment, defamation (and) breach of contract” by the university.

Mr Pavlou also named then vice chancellor Peter Høj and chancellor Peter Varghese as defendants in the lawsuit.

A university spokesperson on Thursday said the Queensland Supreme Court had ordered the proceedings be dismissed with no order on costs.

“Although the university was always confident of its position, the parties have agreed to resolve the proceedings, which were commenced by Mr Pavlou in June 2020, without any admission of liability,” they said.

Mr Pavlou told AAP that he agreed to drop his lawsuit only because UQ offered to pay $120,000 to provide law scholarships for future students.

”I always said that my Supreme Court lawsuit was not about money. I always promised that I would drop my lawsuit if UQ simply apologised and admitted that I was wronged,” Mr Pavlou said.

Prior to filing the lawsuit in 2020, Mr Pavlou appealed a decision by UQ’s disciplinary board for him to be banned from studying at the university for two years.

At the time Mr Varghese said Mr Pavlou remained an enrolled student, with no action being taken on his suspension while the appeal was being heard.

“UQ tried to expel me because I protested against UQ’s immoral economic ties with the Chinese Communist Party … now I’m back on campus studying law,” Mr Pavlou said on Thursday.

University of Queensland student and activist Drew Pavlou (centre) takes part in a protest in support of Hong-Kong, outside the Chinese consulate in Brisbane, Saturday, May 30, 2020. Photo: AAP/Dan Peled

The UQ spokesperson said the decision to contribute $120,000 towards the scholarships was part of its commitment to supporting students who have experienced educational or social disadvantage.

“Rather than incurring further legal costs if the proceedings had continued, the university will provide $120,000 in funding to the UQ Leadership, Excellence and Diversity (LEAD) scholarship,” they said.

Mr Pavlou’s legal battle previously attracted support from Australian High Commissioner to the UK George Brandis, who studied at UQ.

Mr Pavlou said he was proud that his decision to fight UQ in court would help disadvantaged people.

“I could have fought the case forever but this is a concrete way for me to leave behind a legacy,” he said.

“I could die tomorrow and there will still be three or four students able to go to university and get a law degree because of me.”

Mr Pavlou was handed a $3100 penalty by the Brisbane Magistrates Court in October 2023 for unlawfully displaying an advert outside the Chinese consulate that referenced the 1989 massacre of pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square.

Mr Pavlou said at the time he would appeal and claimed the prosecution had infringed on his freedom of expression under Queensland’s Human Rights Act.